September 2017 Favorites

It is the end of the month again! Here are my favorite things from the month of September.
Arts and Culture
Here is a list of the songs from My Shazam this month:
 
Personal Style
  • I am re-discovering Gal Meets Glam, a fashion blogger, and I am really loving how she incorporates warm colors in her wardrobe and how her style is so feminine.
  • The look of effortless vintage Levi’s
  • Fall colors
  • Pleated skirts like this
Career
  • I spent some time on networking this month. One of my friend works at a big pharmaceutical company and she introduced me to two people at her company with roles I am interested in. To be honest I did not learn that many new things about their roles at the interviews but I definitely believe this experience makes me feel more confident about applying for a job at their company; now I have a broader perspective of the company and culture and the type of people they look for.
Personal
  • The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin differentiates people into four different groups in terms of how they respond to both inner and outer expectations. According to her test, I am an Obliger who responds stronger to outer expectations and I find this to be true: I often have to rely on other people or circumstances to make me do certain things and I find that I am a better person when I know that someone else s looking up to me.
  • The book “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
  • Fill Your Heart With Love” post on Instagram

Making the Switch – Update September 2017

The goal of this post is to summarize what I’ve learned so far in figuring out the next step in my career after I lost my job in July 2017.

Hi everyone!

After some thoughts about this career change weekly serie, I decided to abandon the weekly update for the following reasons:
  • they seem too much like a laundry list, which is not useful for anybody
  • they are too long and have way too much detail
Instead of the laundry list, I decided summarize what I did, what I found helpful and new useful things I learned! So here they are!
This is what I did so far:
  1. When I first lost my job, I wanted to switch industry entirely because I felt like biotech wasn’t something I looked forward to every single day. I listed all the things I want in my career and I found that what I am interested in CAN be found in most industries. When it came time to decide on industries, I know what really motivates me (or things I care about the most) are health and lifestyle related. It is hard to switch to a field where one has no experience so I hesitated. I eventually decided to stay in biotech because biotech is related to health and this is where I have the most relevant experience, and instead I will switch function.
  2. At the same time, I checked out a copy of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” from my local library (yes, an physical book from a physical library. not Amazon! But for the sake of convenience, I found the Amazon link for you guys here). It has a very useful section that helps readers figure out 7 key areas to consider when it comes to your career: the kind of industry/knowledge, preferred people to work with, your favorite transferable kills, favorite working conditions, level of responsibility/salary, preferred places to live and mission in life. The exercises are painfully long but the results are well worth it! I do think that some of these I knew already (for example, I have always known where I want to live) but they do help me discover some parts of myself that I didn’t know before. I think having this extra knowledge about myself is very helpful when I apply for jobs and when I decide which companies to join.
  3. I then contacted some old coworkers to ask them questions about their careers because I am interested in what they do (these are called “Informational Interviews”). Interestingly, all these different functions that I was interested in all somewhat pointed to the same role that I could go into with the experience I have so far. You can probably imagine my excitement when I found out about this! These conversations also helped me identify a more long term goal.
I am pretty happy because starting from where I am I can plan a path to my long term career goal and I feel much more motivated this way. Of course, I will need to learn more about my long term goal by conducting more informational interviews and reading some books to make sure this is what I want to do eventually.
Another thing that is on my mind is that I want to have a secondary income because I want to have more flexibility with time without compromising on the pay. In the future I think I will be busier with family related things and I want to have enough income so if I need to take a pay cut for that flexibility I can still support myself and my family.

In the next few weeks I will blog about the important tools I’ve learned so far during my search. Please stay tuned!

August 2017 Favorites

August soon came to an end and that means it’s time for another Monthly Favorites!

 

Arts and Culture

I find this song very catchy: Kamikaze by MØ. I haven’t listened to it enough to actually look into the lyrics so I don’t know what the song is about.

I love Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and I like the cinematography of the music video a lot!

 

Personal Style

NYDJ (again!) Stretch Knit Trousers. The material of these pants are undeniably yoga pants material (sigh), but these have trouser legs that make them look less like yoga pants. They are very flattering on my figure, they smooth out lumps and are super comfortable. The only gripe I have with them is that the hook-and-bar closure doesn’t lie completely flat on the stomach and they don’t have belt loops. If you wear your tops untucked then this should be a non issue.

Sparkly earrings in studs and drop styles. I chose the rose gold color because I simply just love this color! I must say that I think the drop style is a bit too big for my liking, I’d feel very self conscious wearing them everyday. But the studs are beautiful and just the right amount of elegance and statement. The posts sit off centered and I think that provides a little bit of added elegance because the earrings look a bit “draped” and thus are more interesting than the regular stud earrings.

Uniqlo Merino Blend Ribbed Skirt. This skirt is knitted and quite thick and has a nice drape to provide a good “skim over your body” effect. Tops can be tucked in because of the thicker material. This is a versatile piece that can be worn in fall and winter.

Levi’s 715 Boot Cut Jeans. I never knew this (didn’t shop at Levi’s before) but there are so many choices of washes and sizes and inseams. These boot cut jeans are so flattering on my body (I am petite with a slight curve) because of the mid rise that elongates my legs and the slight flare at the bottom that balances out my hips. My body just looks like it’s in “proportion” when I wear them. These also have a bit of stretch in them which makes them so comfortable.

Banana Republic Silk Cashmere Crew. I have been on the hunt for a good fall/winter piece that is light colored since I don’t have a lot of these. I surprised myself when I picked up this light gray piece because I don’t usually buy a lot of gray items. But after wearing it I am starting to realize they are basically a more wearable “white” color, like off white and cream/oatmeal colors. I love the idea of wearing white tops but stark white does not work for me and luckily I found this! I have been wanting to wear this light gray sweater everyday since I got it. I am so glad I went with this!

Career

I started reading this book “How will you measure your life?” and this came just at the right time for me personally! I am currently unemployed and looking for a job so I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I want to do with my career and life. This book has good insights on how to find meaning and happiness (and stay aligned to those) in work and life.

I have another detailed post about my job search so far that I will upload this weekend. Please stay tuned!

Personal

This image of a little dog sitting in the subway just cracks me up. I used to love this song and used to sing it so much on Rock Band back in the day. The notes are so high and so impossible, failing this song actually makes it fun to sing to!

I randomly saw this mug on Amazon and I instantly fell in love with it. As someone who loves all things cat themed, I just couldn’t resist! I am actually surprised that I don’t have a cat mug already! But since I have way too many mugs, I am going to reserve this one for my friend who loves cats just as much as I do!

 

That’s it for August. Let’s continue the conversation next month!

 

 

July 2017 Favorites

I know I am VERY behind on this, but these are my favorites from the month of July:

Arts and Culture
I fell in love with this song called “Grace Kelly” by MIKA. I loved this song because of MIKA’s voice, it is so elastic and very high pitched (but not squeaky) and I loved the lyrics.

Personal Style
I recently discovered LOFT (as in, I recently stepped foot into LOFT for the first time in my life and shopped there) and this past season of spring/summer they had so many colorful pieces and a lot of them were red/orange color themed. It was so beautiful! Their items are trendy (but not too trendy) at a decent quality and price point, I really loved what I found there. I have been wanting to update my wardrobe with more colors and this discovery came at the perfect time for me!
Unfortunately the jacket I bought is no longer available. Here is a link to something similar.

Floaty tops
Most of the tops I have are not floaty. They are usually buttoned up shirts, cashmere sweaters, or tee shirts. I was randomly browsing online and I came across this post on Instagram raving about this top by Uniqlo, which is known to have great basics at affordable prices and I decided to check it out. I got the white one (similar)and tried it on and immediately got compliments. Since it’s off white, it is very flattering for my complexion, and it also works with many colors as opposed to a stark white. Because it’s floaty I can wear it with all the skinny pants/jeans I own, and since it’s soft it can be easily tucked under any bottoms (including skirts) without bunching up underneath. To me it is an “updated” basic that goes with so many things I have. One added bonus is that since it’s sleeveless, it can be worn easily under jackets without any bunching at the sleeves. The one down side is that since it is so long and has slits on both sides of the body, it can look a bit awkward when you wear a jacket shorter than it. But I find that it doesn’t happen that often. I went and bought the navy one since I wanted to have a darker color one. The navy is really dark, it’s almost black.

NYDJ “Betty” pants
Since I started working out consistently and grew my lower body and glutes, I started to have a hard time finding skinny pants/jeans that look good on me. Most of the time, they are too small on me and have awkward creases here and there. I almost gave up on finding good bottoms until I randomly saw this pair of pants from NYDJ at Nordstrom and decided to give it a try. What a good decision it was! This pants look so good and so flattering, they hugged me the right way and was stretchy enough to accommodate my curves and did not make my body look “weird”. The best way I could describe them is that they “followed” my curves but did not cling onto them. I originally tried on size 0P and had to size down to 00P because it is stretchy. This goes with all my tops, but I would only wear it with longer tops because it is thinner than the normal jeans/pants and I’d feel like I’m wearing yoga pants.

Full skirts
I went through my pinterest board and realized I really liked the full skirt look with a fitted top tucked into it, or a fit and flare dress. I found this beautiful navy lace skirt at Nordstrom Rack, however because I was too lazy to try it on in store I bought the wrong size and since it was a clearance item, I could no longer find it in store. Alternately, I went on a hunt on Amazon and found this skirt with good reviews from the brand Allegra K. According to the reviews I should be a size M, however it was too big when it finally arrived. I had to return it and buy the small one, but I really do like the look and the quality of it. I still think the Ted Baker skirt is better quality, but because it is a lacey material it is probably way too fragile for me to handle.

Pointed nude flats
Since I am planning on wearing more skirts, and I can’t walk around for too long in stilettos , I figured another way for my legs to not drown out in full skirts I should find a pair of nude flats with pointed toes. I found this pair at Macy.

Career
Since I am going through some career changes, I checked out the famous “What color is your parachute?” from my local library. This book helps readers identify the skills, interests and work environments best suited for them. There are many exercises and they do take time, but I believe that time will be well spent!

 

 

Making the Switch – Week 1

Day 1

As someone who cannot stand the idea of staying at home for one whole day, I was shocked to find out that I did not go crazy at all. I was also shocked that I did not binge eat since now snacks and food are easily accessible. I did find that I spent a lot of time on my phone and the internet. So I decided to either turn the airplane mode on or leave it in a different room while I “worked”.

Following the initial shock of unemployment, some things became clear to me.

  1. I forgot how fortunate I was (when I still had the job): having a job allowed me to be self-reliant and it introduced me to a wonderful network of coworkers. When my feelings towards my job shifted, I forgot about all these things I should be grateful for. While I don’t wish to have my old job back, I really wished that I was more grateful when I had it. Having a job also gave me a fixed schedule and I find having a set routine makes me productive and makes “play” (ie. gym, shopping, cooking, hobbies) seem more enjoyable.
  2. I am grateful for this “push”: I was too comfortable to take actions to switch and this push is what I needed. I was more lazy than unhappy to do something about my career so I kept putting it off. I am very grateful to be knocked back to reality. Now I have no option but to figure my way out of this.
  3. I also realized how lucky I am to be able to daydream about work again. When I was still working, it was difficult to see myself working in a different role/industry. But now that I am unemployed, I feel much more free to consider other possibilities. It almost feels like I just graduated from school and I have so many options to choose from. However, it is also scary and extremely confusing. I feel unqualified to go into a different field because I am practically starting over. But I know if I go back I would be very miserable.
  4. I am not alone: it didn’t hit me until now that so many people have gone through the same thing and I am not the only one. I received so many encouragements and advices from my friends and old coworkers. My friends offered me advices while my old coworkers told me which companies that might have opportunities available for me. I am eternally grateful for the support I received.

Besides feeling thankful (and scared) for all the things I have and had, I spent about 1-2 hours today figuring out what I want to do next. Here is what I did:

  1. I listed my definition of “success” in terms of career and life
  2. I came up with a list of people that I think are successful and I analyzed why
  3. I listed the things I enjoyed doing from my previous jobs and in personal life

There were more things I wanted to think about, but I ran out of time (had to head to the gym) so I decided to take a break and continue later.


Day 2

I decided to come up with some sort of a schedule to keep myself sane. As I mentioned before, having a fixed schedule makes me happy and productive. I will spend 4 days a week on job hunting and take a break for the rest of the week. I’ve always thought working 4 days a week would be an idea schedule for me, and I see this as an opportunity to test things out. I don’t know if I will like it or if this is enough time spent on job hunting per week. I will find out.

I’ve also decided to use down time productively, instead of browsing on my phone like I used to. These are the things I will do, in no particular order:

  • Read books I’ve always wanted to read (I have a bunch sitting on my bookshelf and in my Audible collection)
  • Hobbies like arts and crafts
  • Afternoon tea (this is one of my favorite things to do)
  • Clean up and donate things
  • Explore the neighborhood on feet
  • Try workout outdoor or at home instead of at a gym
  • Do some volunteer work
  • Take a 15 min walk at least 3 times a week

I previously wrote about the importance of “play” (from my June favorites post) and I think I will try to schedule at least one of these things everyday.


Day 3

I didn’t get much done today, but I decided for tomorrow I will find 5 companies that I might want to work for that either have products or services that I like (based on my reflection from Day 1) and see if I can find someone in those companies to talk to.


Day 4

I spent most of the day on LinkedIn and Google looking for jobs that I might be interested in, based on my reflection on Day 1. The search took longer than I imagined, because I didn’t know what job titles to search for. I also got frustrated when LinkedIn told me that I am reaching some kind of search limit and that I would have to pay to view more profiles. But eventually I found some keywords I can use in my searches and people I wanted to connect with to learn about their careers.

I set up a very simple home office to work. In a spare bedroom I moved a chair and used an old table as a desk. I decided to work here in isolation and leave my phone out of sight so I don’t get distracted.


Day 5

Today I discovered a few more keywords I can use in my job search. I feel like my search is finally leading me somewhere. I am finding job postings and companies that do things that are similar to what I naturally gravitate towards. I reached out to two people I found on LinkedIn with job titles or descriptions I’m interested in and I am now patiently waiting for response.

Continue reading “Making the Switch – Week 1”

Making the Switch – Week 0

Earlier this month I lost my job.
I was shocked and sad to say the least, but I was also relieved because I had been thinking about making a switch for quite some time but I kept putting it off. This change came at the right time for me, and I decided to take this opportunity to blog about
a) how I figure out my next direction
b) my job search
I expect to write more in the early days as I reflect on what I like, what I am good at, what I want to do etc. As the days go on, I might upload less if I get busier with the job search.

Be a Beginner

I have been a beginner at many things.
For one, I am just beginning to blog. And in the past I have been a beginner at ballet, tango, yoga, weightlifting, pilates, etc. I know how terrifying it is to be the only person that sucks in the room. Yes, that feeling when the teacher says pirouette, fondu, releve, and you say “wut?” And you peek over your shoulder to discover that everyone else is doing something you are NOT doing. I went to a “beginner” class but I felt like the only true beginner there and everyone else had been dancing ballet since there were 5. Luckily, after a few classes I was improving. And I started to notice that there were other people learning a new hobby just like I was.

Continue reading “Be a Beginner”